New Urbanism: A Community Building, Economically Sensible, and Environmentally Conscious Solution

abanks's picture

Isabell Cowles of the Huffington Post's Article entitled "Can New Urbanism Save America?" encapsulates fundamental elements and benefits of New Urbanism. Touching upon the importance of creating accessibility, pedestrian friendly, community focused and economically sensible urban places, Ms. Cowles does a great job of identifying the urgency of re-thinking our priorities as a country.

Although fortunate to have grown up in a wonderful location of the greater Boston area, I was always well aware of the growing popularity, and demand for the so-called "convenience," "privacy" and "luxury" of suburban living. It's amazing how a large portion of our American society has become convinced that the defining elements of convenience and high quality of life are found in large, luxurious vehicles, houses with oversized, fenced in yards, and absolute disconnect from the surrounding community. We have become a culture of consumption, driven by an individualistic mentality that is proving itself to be detrimental to the environment. I think that one of the biggest challenges for the community of New Urbanists is being able to efficiently present factual information, as well as informing skeptics of successful historic precedent. After all, New Urbanism does not claim to be a completely new concept. New Urbanism is in large part, learning from past, and from emerging successful urban planning and place making practices.

Two summers ago, during my senior year of Undergraduate Architectural study at Judson University, I was fortunate to have been able to study abroad in Europe. Traveling to major cities including, Rome, Florence, Venice, Paris, Amsterdam, Stokholm and Denmark, I was submersed in beautiful architecture and the impressive pedestrian scale of city design and place making. One of the most memorable locations for me was Piazza Navona, Rome. Serving as a daily meeting place for my class, Piazza Navona's integration within the city of Rome demonstrates the potential of successful place making which provides pedestrian access, and connectivity in contrast to sprawl development.

Isabell Cowles’s article “Can New Urbanism Save America” is a great reminder. We have so many resources, so many historical precedents to learn from. It’s simply a shame that beautifully designed cities of the past have become less of an American priority, while suburban lifestyles have become standard, even if detrimental to the environment, economy and community.

Read Isabell Cowles’s full article here.


Write your comments in the box below and share on your Facebook!